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The first month of the 2013 fantasy baseball season is almost in the books, and we've gotten a good look at which players are off to hot starts and which guys are struggling in the early going. RotoBaller will be updating our original preseason rankings, one per day over the next week. Today we're revisiting the first base rankings we initially published in February. All the ranks below are compared to the FantasyPros ECR (Expert Consensus Rank), which will show you where RotoBaller differs with the expert community and by how much. Check out our tier-by-tier analysis below the rankings, and let us know where you agree or disagree with us!
Tier 1: Tough to choose between Prince Fielder and Joey Votto as the number 1 overall first basemen. Fielder currently has the better numbers but Votto’s plate discipline has been outstanding thus far. I think Votto’s counting stats will catch up eventually, but for now I’ll give the nod to Fielder. As for Albert Pujols, I really worry about the plantar fascitis that Pujols himself says “hurts real bad.” I think a DL stint is likely to allow the perennial first-round pick some time to rest and heal up.
Tier 2: Two notable additions to this tier who I thought were ranked too low in RotoBaller’s original set of first base rankings - Paul Goldschmidt and Freddie Freeman. Goldschmidt might not steal 18 bases again like he did in 2012, but I’d be happy with half of that total on top of 25+ HR and 100+ RBI. Freeman spent a short time on the DL due to an oblique injury, but he should pick up right where he left off and drive in a ton of runs in a stacked Atlanta lineup (if B.J. and Andrelton Simmons can ever get on base). Allen Craig jumps up slightly one tier-- despite his lack of home runs thus far in 2013, he remains a consistent run producer for the Cardinals, and he's responded well to moving up to the 2-hole.
Tier 3: This tier used to be occupied by Allen Craig, Ryan Howard and Ike Davis. Now there are five new faces that have taken over the tier that is headed up by Cubs’ slugger Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo’s batting average may be a bit low at the moment, but the power and run production are there and they're real. Similar to Rizzo, Mark Trumbo jumps up a tier as a solid middle-of-the-order fixture in the Angels’ lineup. I prefer him slightly to Paul Konerko, Chris Davis and Todd Frazier, the latter of which is the biggest riser in the rankings over his preseason position.
Tier 4: I’ve got to be honest with you - it’s tough for me to get excited about any of the options here in Tier 4. Ike Davis and Adam LaRoche have been terrible. Ryan Howard? Meh. Michael Cuddyer, on the other hand, has been productive, but I wouldn't want him on my team as my starting 1B. Moving along...
Tier 5: Not much movement in the top half of this tier. Matt Carpenter joins the first base rankings even though you're probably starting him at second base. You've gotta love the start he’s had, plus his position flexibility. Mark Reynolds climbs the rankings on the strength of a hot April.
Tier 6: Corey Hart and Mark Teixeira haven't contributed anything yet, but fantasy owners are stashing them for their HR power. Justin Morneau slips a bit due to a slow start and Kevin Youkilis joins the rankings despite recent back issues. You can't ignore the fact that when healthy, he’s hitting in the 3- or 4-hole in the Yankees’ lineup.
Tier 7: Chris Carter heads up the final tier as the best cheap source of power out there. Right now, I prefer him to Adam Dunn, who is the biggest faller in the first base rankings due to an awful start to the season. Brandon Moss and Yonder Alonso are solid Utility/Bench options.